Second quarter sees China’s economy come out of deep slump

Consumption and investment remain weak as coronavirus shock still reverberates

A Hollister store in Beijing: China’s GDP rose 3.2 per cent in the second quarter. Photograph: Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg

A Hollister store in Beijing: China’s GDP rose 3.2 per cent in the second quarter. Photograph: Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg

 

China’s economy returned to growth in the second quarter after a deep slump at the start of the year, but domestic consumption and investment remained weak as the shock from the coronavirus crisis underscored the need for more policy support to bolster the recovery.

The gross domestic product (GDP) data, as well as key June indicators, will be closely scrutinised around the world, especially as many countries continue to grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic even as China has largely managed to contain the outbreak and has begun to restart its economic engines.

GDP rose 3.2 per cent in the second quarter from a year earlier, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday, faster than the 2.5 per cent forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll, as lockdown measures ended and policymakers ramped up stimulus to combat the pandemic-led downturn.

The bounce was still the weakest expansion on record, and followed a steep 6.8 per cent slump in the first quarter, the first such contraction since at least 1992 when quarterly GDP records began.